Tillman, Orioles head into All-Star break with victory
- The Baltimore Orioles lead the American League East Division at 51-36.
- Orioles ace Chris Tillman will carr a 12-2 record into the All-Star break.
- The Orioles have pounded out 137 homers, their most ever before the All-Star break.
BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles cruised into the All-Star break with a performance that typified their play for much of the first half of the season.
Baltimore got another solid start from Chris Tillman, and the Orioles added two more homers to their major league-leading total in a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.
The Orioles reached the break atop the AL East with a 51-36 record, including 33-14 at home.
"We're just trying to do everything to make sure we're as good as we're capable of being," manager Buck Showalter said.
Tillman pitched seven innings of three-hit ball, and Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy homered to help Baltimore capture the deciding matchup of the three-game series.
The Orioles have 137 home runs, the most they've ever hit before the break.
"There are always things that you can work on, but I like the position that we're in right now," Davis said. "Obviously, finishing off the first half with two wins at home is good to build some momentum going into the second half of the season."
Tillman (12-2) didn't have a perfect inning until the seventh. But the right-hander allowed only one runner past second base and offset his season-high five walks with five strikeouts.
"The end result was good," Tillman said. "We came out on top. It was a grind. It was a grind from the get-go. I was missing with all my pitches early. Fortunately, we were able to kind of get in somewhat of a rhythm and mix some pitches and get out of innings."
Brad Brach worked the eighth and Zach Britton got three outs for his 27th save in 27 opportunities.
Angels starter Tim Lincecum (1-3) gave up three runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. The 32-year-old was making his fifth start since signing with the Angels on May 20.
Lincecum kept the Orioles in check with the exception of an opposite-field, two-run shot in the fourth inning by Davis that made it 2-1.
"The best we've seen him," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He made very few mistakes."
Lincecum was pleased with his outing, especially after giving five runs in 4 2/3 innings in his previous start at Tampa Bay.
"I thought I challenged guys pretty well," the right-hander said. "Made some pitches when I had to and my defense played real well, too."
Well, not exactly.
Los Angeles fell into a 3-1 hole in the sixth after a two-out popup by Pedro Alvarez dropped between shortstop Andrelton Simmons and left fielder Ji-Man Choi. Simmons exacerbated the miscue by throwing wildly to second base. Hardy followed with an RBI single.
"There was a mix up in communication," Scioscia said.
Mike Trout and Albert Pujols had RBIs for the Angels, who reached the break in last place for the first time since 1999.
Pujols got Los Angeles to 3-2 with a sacrifice fly in the eighth, but Hardy countered with a solo shot off Huston Street in the bottom half. It was his first homer since April 12.
Angels third baseman Yunel Escobar was ejected in the seventh inning while in the field.
Los Angeles got a first-inning run when a call at the plate was reversed after a replay review. Kole Calhoun was initially ruled out on a double by Trout before manager Mike Scioscia challenged the call.
The lead stood up until Davis hit his 22nd home run after Mark Trumbo's leadoff single.
Angels: 1B C.J. Cron was in the clubhouse Sunday, his broken left hand in a soft cast. The injury occurred Friday when he was hit by a pitch. He is scheduled to see a specialist on Monday.
Orioles: LF Hyun Soo Kim strained his right hamstring running out a first-inning grounder and was removed from the game.
Angels: Los Angeles comes out of the All-Star break on Friday with a matchup against the visiting Chicago White Sox.
Orioles: Yovani Gallardo will start against Tampa Bay on Friday as Baltimore launches the second half with a seven-game road trip.